some lawns too big for solo operator ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by WayneRI, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. WayneRI

    WayneRI LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    A couple of seasons ago I landed 1, then 3 accounts in a real up-scale neighborhood. About 1 acre of grass (sprinkler sys. of course) ; mulch beds all around the houses, and big ones on the lawns. At $45 a pop, I thought this was the way to go. Now I'm not so sure. Have to be extra careful that they look real good: Never be late for a cutting, NO clippings in the beds, miles of edging. Well over an hour on each one. I've realized that I can do 2 (or better) basic $30 lawns in that same time. Can't raise price, as I would then not be competitive. Larger companies can send in 3 hard working Hispanics at about $10/hr and be gone in 1/2 hour. (direct labor cost $15)
    Though they are my highest dollar properties, I'm thinking of dropping them next year, and go more after the average size, average quality lawns.
    Any other solo (or smaller operators run into this same dilemma?
  2. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Its all about profitability. Working for nothing is pointless. Raise prices, if they jump ship on you so be it. If they like your work more than they are concerned with price you'll keep them.
  3. EvandSeby

    EvandSeby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 151

    I am also a solo operator. I have found out exactly what you are experiencing. It turns out to be much more profitable to do the postage stamp sized lots worth 25.00 per visit and be in and out in 20 minutes. I concentrate on small to medium sized lots which in my area are usually under 10k sq. ft of which usually only half is in grass, the rest shrubs, rock mulch, etc. You have to keep your route tight however, and I am narrowing my territory all the time. When I started out in this area, I was all over the place, and have been trying to narrow it down ever since.
  4. kels

    kels LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    Yep, find your niche and stick with it, only do lawns you are equiped for. I am dropping 4 one acre properties that are all neighbors, for the very same reason.
  5. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,721

    Good heavens, I get $70.00/mow for a one acre place like that. I have done several of that size as a solo with no problem. However, I sure would not do them for 45.00. Raise your rate to make a fair profit, or dump them.:(
  6. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 458

    1 Acre properties start at $60.00 and go up from there depending on edging and wacking! Just did one today a little less than an acre $75.00 and one that was 1/2 Acre $50.00
  7. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Yep,raise their rate,If they dump you oh well, but you should be getting more for an acre with beds. (If you can afford to have them dump you that is)
  8. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    I agree that the smaller lawns can make you more money in the long run, but we still strive for the props in the larger upscale areas. These are the places to showcase your work and doing a good job will get you more referrals. We have a 2-person crew, so we are able to get more done in less time. The bottom line is that you need to feel comfortable and enjoy working on the properties you service.
  9. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Smaller lawns do sometimes make more for you in the maintenance aspect but the larger properties usually spend more
    and spend more freely on other items....Mulching,Landscaping etc.
  10. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    Did one today, almost an acre. $90.00/cut

    Nice area, big lawns, lots of trimming, cha-ching.

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